Vampire Forensics
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Vampire Forensics : Uncovering the Origins of an Enduring Legend

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Vampires pervade popular culture, but for thousands of years before Bram Stoker penned "Dracula", people lived in terror of vampirical creatures - and recent discoveries shed new light on this primal fear and the legend and lore that has grown up around it. From ancient whispers in Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome, legends of vampiric demons passed through the centuries and around the globe, fed by misconceptions about the afterlife, fear of disease, and the unshakable feeling that demons might dwell among us. In "Vampire Forensics", Jenkins will revisit some of the touchpoints of vampire legend to base his tale in the historical record: shards of Persian pottery depicting blood-sucking demons; the epidemic of vampire stakings in 18th century Germany that challenged notions of Europe's Age of Enlightenment; and, the castle of Transylvanian count 'Vlad the Impaler' whose bloodthirsty methods added a new dimension to the vampire story. A highlight is the amazing recent discovery by National Geographic archaeologist Matteo Borrini of a 16th century Venetian grave of a plague victim suspected of being a vampire, buried with a brick through its mouth to prevent it from terrorising the living. A seductive mix of superstition and science that's sure to engross everyone from Anne Rice fans to serious students of archaeology and mythlogy.

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  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 148 x 226 x 30mm | 458.13g
  • 16 Apr 2010
  • National Geographic Society
  • Hanover, PA
  • English
  • 1426206070
  • 9781426206078
  • 225,261

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Author Information

Mark Jenkins is chief historian of the National Geographic Society's archives.

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Review quote

"A lively and entertaining survey of the historical and scientific materials relating to the natural phenomena that earlier centuries relentlessly misinterpreted as evidence for the undead." -"The Washington Post"

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